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Want to begin menu planning but not sure where to start? Check out these helpful tips and download the free printable and you’ll be on your way.
When you’re a busy mom, you have to love anything that makes life easier, right? That’s why I love menu planning so much. No more trying to come up with something last minute because I forgot that I actually had to feed my kids. Plus, when I plan out my meals ahead of time, I make a lot less trips to the grocery store. Not only does that make my kids happy (they hate going grocery shopping), but it saves a good bit of money too!
One thing I like to do is throw in a super easy ready-to-cook meal sometimes. Since our lives are so busy, sometimes we get home late and there’s no time to cook a big dinner. That’s why I was excited to discover these ConAgra frozen dinners at Publix! Not only are they delicious, but they’re super quick and easy to prepare, perfect for a last minute meal! You can choose from brands you already love such as Bertolli, P.F. Changs, Healthy Choice and Marie Callender’s. My favorites are the Bertolli Chicken Marsala with Roasted Redskin Potatoes and the PF Changs Sweet & Sour Chicken.
While I was shopping, I also picked up one of these single serving meals. This looked delish and would be perfect for when my hubby works late and the girls are begging for hot dogs. I’m not much of a hot dog girl but Chicken Portabella Ravioli is right up my alley! Pair it with a glass of wine and you can’t possibly go wrong!
I really love how menu planning simplifies my life. I even created this free printable to make it even easier!
If you’ve never made a menu plan before, here are a few tips to help you get started:
- First you’ll want to take inventory of what you already have. If you have frozen chicken that’s been in the freezer awhile or produce in the fridge that’s close to going to that big veggie garden in the sky, plan to create a dinner based around those items. Don’t forget to check out the pantry to see what else you can incorporate.
- Save money by keeping a list of what’s in season and working those foods into your meals.
- Plan your dinners for each night (feel free to use my printable). One mistake that I made in the beginning was to find elaborate meals from Pinterest and plan one for every night. Not only was that expensive, it was also very time consuming. Cook maybe one “fancy” dinner per week and fill out the rest of the week with meals that are a little easier. Incorporate these Conagra dinners or plan theme nights such as Mexican night, pasta night, soup night or even “breakfast for dinner” night. By planning meals that don’t require a lot of work, you’re much more likely to stick to your plan.
- Make your grocery list. Keep a notepad or whiteboard in your kitchen so that you can write things down as you think of them. Then look through the meals you’ve planned and list all the ingredients you’ll need to prepare them.
- Now you’re ready to cook! Trust me, it’s such a great feeling when you’ve got it all planned out ahead of time! You won’t be stressing about dinner, plus you’ve already got everything you need at your fingertips!
- Sit back, relax and enjoy that extra time with your family!
I was dying to try the Chicken Marsala & Roasted Redskin Potatoes so that was first on my list. It took all of 10 minutes to cook from start to finish. The meal turned out amazing and everyone in my family loved it (and trust me, my girls aren’t shy about telling me when they don’t like something). When they started asking for more, I knew I had a hit on my hands!
My plan is to always keep some of these ConAgra meals stashed away in my freezer! Even if you’re not menu planning, they’re really convenient to have on hand when you need something last minute.
Do you enjoy menu planning? Which of these dinners do you think your family would most like to see on the list?
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